UD closes out second straight season with perfect home record
By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor
Math Day coincided with the home finale for the University of Dayton women’s basketball team Wednesday, Feb. 26, at UD Arena.
Dayton added points to the scoreboard at a vigorous pace in the second half in completing a 12-0 home schedule with a 67-58 win over Saint Louis University.
UD hasn’t lost a home game in back-to-back seasons and has won 26 straight overall dating back to Feb. 11, 2012.
The game wasn’t a foregone conclusion early in the second half though.
Saint Louis held a 46-35 lead with 14:49 remaining, but Dayton went on a 16-6 over the next eight minutes to take the lead for good.
“I think our kids decided that what was happening wasn’t acceptable,” head coach Jim Jabir said. “Our intensity level got up and our focus got up. We played more like us.”
Freshman guard Celeste Edwards had 10 of UD’s points during the run, including a pair of three’s, the latter giving the Flyers their first lead of the game at 51-48 with 9:02 remaining.
“I was just waiting for it to fall,” Edwards said. “I had a couple good looks in the first half, but then I got that shot and it fell and I was starting to feel it a little bit.”
Junior guard Andrea Hoover, the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference Play of the Week, had 19 points to lead UD. Junior forward Ally Malott had 16 points, and Edwards added 14.
Dayton only had three turnovers in the second after a sloppy first half that included 11 turnovers and no free throw attempts.
“Even though there were six thousand kids here, I don’t think [the team] were as amped up, I don’t think we were as focused,” Jabir said. “I think Saint Louis came in with a great gameplan and frustrated us. We weren’t ready and weren’t as locked in as we were for the [Saint Joseph’s University] game.”
SLU freshman guard Erin Nelson, the team’s leading scorer, had 19 points, but Dayton held her scoreless in the final 18 minutes of the game and without a made field goal in the second half.
Dayton already had wrapped up the A- 10 regular season championship heading into the game, and has one more remaining at George Washington University Saturday, March 1, at 2 p.m. Jabir said it had crossed his mind that the team may think they had nothing to play for anymore, but knew they understood what he expects.
“That’s what I was a little concerned about,” Jabir said. “You never want a letdown because if you have a chance to wear the uniform, it means something anytime. We have to go [George Washington] and play a really tough team on their court and it matters. The game matters a lot.”